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age to 67 and cap benefit hikes under social security. obama and house speaker john boehner are due to begin negotiations friday on averting the so-called fiscal cliff of expiring tax cuts and automatic spending reductions set to take effect at the end of the year. speaking in washington, treasury secretary timothy geithner stressed the urgency of reaching a deal. >> i know the cliff is unattractive. it would cause a lot of damage to the american economy. a careful about those who argue and urge for "let's just extend while we negotiate." it will leave a different source of uncertainty on the table, like what would give the people the incentive to come back and do something tough. >> millions of workers in europe have joined a general strike today protesting the wave of spending cuts and tax hikes that has swept the continent in the name of austerity. spanish and portuguese workers are coordinating their strike with work stoppages also planned in greece, italy, france and belgium. we will have more on the strike after headlines. closing arguments have ended in a pretrial hearing to
less than the 700,000 cited by house speaker john boehner. more than seven hours 61,000 homes and businesses remained without power on the east coast thursday after a powerful nor'easter knocked out electricity for tens of thousands on top of those still left in the dark by superstorm sandy. the number includes more than 20,000 residents of public housing in new york city, who in some cases also lack heat and running water. three of new york city's hospitals remain closed after losing power during the storm, and there is no current timetable for their reopening. on thursday, new york governor andrew cuomo said economic damage from the storm could reach $50 billion. >> the first cost estimate that i have seen has suggested the storm will cost the region $50 billion in damage and economic loss. the state of new york, about $33 billion in damage and economic loss. that is a staggering number. >> in the face of an ongoing fuel shortage, new york city mayor michael bloomberg has unveiled a new rationing system for the purchase of gas. on thursday, he said motorists will only be of
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